A backbencher on Monday suggested that Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi be given a role as senior minister after he steps down as prime minister next month, the same way Singapore appoints Lee Kuan Yew as minister mentor.

Datuk Mohamad Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) said the move was apt as Abdullah had done a lot of good deeds for the people, country and parliament throughout his career as a leader.

“When the prime minister relinquishes his post, he will become an ordinary member of parliament.

“Where then should he be seated in the Dewan Rakyat? He can’t be sitting next to Kinabatangan (Datuk Bung Moktar Radin)… I don’t think that would be appropriate.

“Can we then follow our neighbour and appoint him as senior minister?” he said when debating the motion of thanks on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s address in the Dewan Rakyat.

Mohamad said the suggestion was apt as Abdullah’s predecessors neither “relinquished their post midway” nor contested in subsequent elections.

Responding to Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali (PAS-Titiwangsa) who interjected to ask who prompted Abdullah to resign, Mohamad said, no one should cast any suspicion on the leadership transition.

Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi (BN-Batu Pahat) also interjected and said that the power transfer was not an act of back-stabbing but rather a move to ensure stability and prevent any disruption.

Mohamad, who paid tribute to Abdullah, said the power transition was a process which had been accepted by the people.

Meanwhile Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan) when debating the motion hoped that the new cabinet line-up under the leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak would carry out their duties to the best of their abilities.

Abdul Ghapur said the ministers should not just “sit in the office.”

“I hope that ministers will be appointed from among those who can really work for the people,” he said.

He said he himself was disappointed with the attitude of some ministers who seldom go to the grassroots to see for themselves the actual situation on the ground, particularly in Sabah, which still lacked basic infrastructure.

Some ministers were also absent in the Dewan Rakyat and therefore were not able to listen to what members had to say about the situation in their areas, he said.

“It cannot be that all ministers are busy. They should make an effort to attend the Dewan Rakyat sitting,” he said.

— BERNAMA